Kudos for great customer service

A few words about Amazon customer service going above and beyond…

We watch Grey’s Anatomy a season late, on DVD (‘cuz we started in late). We space things out, as we do with other TV-on-DVD series.

So Sunday night, we were at Episode 19 of Season 8. Ten minutes in, the dread digital breakup happens, followed by the dread freeze. I could skip 7 minutes and go on, but…nah.

Looked at data side of disc. Whoops: Two long scratches of exactly the kind that can disrupt playback–that is, more-or-less along the playing path (somewhat radial) rather than across it. In case of possible dirt, rinsed the disc. Nope: Still there, still wouldn’t play.

[I normally do a visual check and spot playback check for each disc of a new season or collection when it arrives. In this case, GA’s been reliable enough for seven seasons that I either didn’t bother or didn’t do a sufficiently careful visual check.]

Here’s the thing: We purchased the season in November 2012 from Amazon. WAY past the return window.

Well, I thought, we can hope that either Amazon or Buena Vista Home Entertainment will be kind enough to replace the disc. Otherwise, we can finish up the current Stargate SG-1 disc (watching that from Netflix on disc) and get the GA disc from Netflix…but, really, we want a clean copy, since eventually we’ll rewatch this. After all, we own it.


Yesterday (Monday) morning at 7:30 a.m. I wrote two emails. One to Amazon, noting that this really wasn’t their problem (after all, 5 months…) but wondering whether there was anything they could do (and noting the original order #, readily available on my account page). One, with some difficulty, to an email address that seemed to be attached to BVHE.COM, the only Buena Vista site I could locate that has anything to do with DVDs. (The ABC site lacks any DVD info and just does autoresponses if you do send email.) It seemed that I needed to register, a process clearly not intended for consumers.

Then here’s what happened:

1. Within two hours–TWO HOURS–I got a response from Amazon saying they’d send a replacement (the full season: that seems to be the only way they can do it) by two-day shipping (I’m not a Prime member).

2. Later that day, I got a response from BVHE.com asking for details for registration–who at Disney referred me, what stores do I buy for–that made it clear the site wasn’t for me. So I responded appropriately.

3. But very late that day (or early today, Tuesday), I also got a response to the email saying the person would forward it to Buena Vista’s customer support–which I still don’t see how to reach directly.

4. This afternoon, I got email from Buena Vista customer support asking me to call to discuss the problem. BUT…

5. By that time, our mail had arrived. With a package from Amazon. Via good old USPS–one day after I’d asked about the problem.

So: I’ve checked the replacement Disc 5, which is absolutely clean; put it in our existing set and put the bad disc in the new set (with a sticky note on the outside wrapper noting the defect); printed out the return label; and prepared the package for return. Which I’ll do tomorrow.

Based on the eventual response from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, my guess is that they would have replaced the defective disc. The main problem there is that I still can’t figure out how you’d send them notice of a defective disc.

But Amazon…came through rapidly, politely, and way beyond what they needed to do.

Count me impressed.

[Amazon was similarly impressive and rapid in replacing, sigh, the entire monster West Wing Complete Series because the set was missing one disc entirely–but that was during the 30-day period, actually a day after it arrived.]

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